Magnetic Resonance Imaging Validation of Tibial Tubercle Transfer Distance in the Fulkerson Osteotomy: A Clinical and Cadaveric Study

Joseph N. Liu, Douglas N. Mintz, Joseph T. Nguyen, Jacqueline M. Brady, Sabrina M. Strickland, Beth E. Shubin Stein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Purpose: To validate the medialization and anteriorization distances, and the osteotomy angle of anteromedialization tibial tubercle osteotomies using postoperative axial imaging. Methods: From March 2004 to August 2015, 117 consecutive patients who underwent anteromedialization osteotomies of the tibial tubercle by a single surgeon were identified. Only patients with pre- and postoperative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies were included. Using MRI multiplanar reformats, distances that the tibial tubercle was translated medially (medialization) and anteriorly (anteriorization) were measured. In addition, the osteotomy angle was measured on the postoperative MRI. The measured values were compared with intraoperative estimates. Tibial tubercle osteotomies were then performed on 3 cadaveric knee specimens and imaged with pre- and postprocedure MRIs to correlate intraoperative measurements with MRI findings. Results: A total of 40 patients (41 knees) (34.2%) had both pre- and postoperative MRIs and were included. Compared with intraoperative assessment, MRI measured medialization values average 94.7% (standard deviation [SD] 37.7) of dictated values (P =.1). MRI measured anteriorization averaged less than half of dictated values (48.9%, SD 18.2%, P <.0001). MRI measured osteotomy angles averaged 67.2% of dictated values (SD 50.3%, P <.0001). The steepest osteotomy angle that could be performed without violating the posterior cortex and/or endangering the posterior neurovascular structures was 46.3°. Conclusions: Surgeons often overestimate both the anteriorization distance and the osteotomy angle in anteromedialization tibial tubercle osteotomies. The steepest osteotomy angle is less than the 60° described in the literature. Modifications should be considered when more anteriorization is desired with tubercle transfers. Level of Evidence: Level IV, retrospective case series.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)189-197
Number of pages9
JournalArthroscopy - Journal of Arthroscopic and Related Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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